Online Dispute Resolution: The best-practice during the COVID-19 pandemic
Despite the emergence of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the economy in the world must go on. Therefore, businesses and people have to adapt themselves to the “new normal”. Various adaptations have been done during this process; however, many others are still to be done, keeping in consideration the new norms and restrictions put in place by governments. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an area that is currently under development.
ADR represents the alternative to court litigation to settle disputes. It is a category that includes different methods such as arbitration, mediation, negotiation and other methods. These methods offer disputing parties great flexibility, affordable costs, time-saving and the same effectiveness of court litigation but avoiding complications of the latter.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic creates many problems for ADR methods, especially the ones concerning conducting proceedings. These problems for international proceedings consist mainly of travel restrictions that prevent parties from appearing in person. Moreover, depending on the regulations adopted by countries, even parties that are physically present in the same place could face difficulties in gathering for hearings due to social distancing norms. In an effort to overcome the above-mentioned problems, the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC) implemented its technological equipment for online hearings and put in place a new online platform for online ADR called TalkDD.
What is the Online Dispute Resolution?
Online dispute resolution (ODR) is the new frontier of ADR. Implementing the use of technological solutions, it is possible to move ADR proceedings online, overcoming difficulties created by travel restriction. The technology could take part in ADR in different ways assisting the proceeding, for instance, online hearing, or replacing entirely the proceeding’s steps creating a new ADR method.
As long as all parties involved in the ADR proceeding have access to the Internet, everyone can take part in the proceeding and contribute to it, without any delay.
As previously mentioned, the easiest form of online ADR is holding hearings online by videoconferencing. This innovation was already present before the pandemic, but it was not used because in-person hearings were considered more effective. Once agreed on the platform for the hearings, arbitrators, mediators and parties can conduct hearings in the same way as an in-person one but without all the inconvenience and costs of travelling. These online platforms give great control on the way to conduct the proceeding, creating virtual rooms for parties, arbitrators and mediators or by allowing parties to speak only one per time, having in this way a smoother proceeding. Moreover, sharing documents or evidence is easier and allows a more effective online proceeding. Lastly, recent technological developments allowed recording or generating transcripts of the hearings, all these under the most recent data protection.
What are the advantages of Online Dispute Resolution?
Online Dispute Resolution offers many benefits. First of all, time and co-saving, avoiding travel costs that parties have to bear in traditional ADR proceedings. Additionally, the transmission of documents is faster and since travelling is not requested more time can be saved, including the one prescribed for quarantine during the pandemic.
Lastly, Online Dispute Resolution allows conducting proceedings that otherwise have to be suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For instance, ODR represents a great solution for businesses conducted in Thailand, no delay in the proceedings leads to a quick resolution of the disputes and allows parties to continue their businesses without additional losses.
Why is THAC the best choice for Online Dispute Resolution?
Parties who are considering utilising Online Dispute Resolution during the COVID-19 pandemic to settle their disputes, shall enquire with the Thailand Arbitration Center (THAC), Thailand leading center for ADR and ODR services. It provides panels of expert and experienced arbitrators and mediators to cover all possible matters in dispute, in this way it would be possible for parties to select the most suitable neutrals for their proceeding.. Furthermore, THAC offers a wide range of Online Dispute Resolution services, including Thailand’s first ODR platform called TalkDD.
TalkDD helps its utilisers in resolving their disputes efficiently and effectively. This new platform provides registration for complaints on e-commerce products and services, an automated system for negotiating disputes and a place where parties can mediate their dispute online.
If you would like to find out more about traditional and online alternative dispute resolution, please contact THAC. THAC is a leading provider of alternative dispute resolution services, including expert mediation and arbitration for local and cross-border disputes. Offering the highest-standard ADR services, THAC’s experienced arbitrators and mediators are available at affordable fees. THAC has state-of-the-art facilities for remote and in-person ADR proceedings and is centrally located in Bangkok near the Phrom Phong BTS station for easy access from most points in the city as well as from two international airports.